Throwaways: the big fail edition

Sometimes, cosmetics products disappoint. This is a reality every beauty enthusiast has to face, and we are prepared to be occasionally underwhelmed by a product. At times though, a product can be nothing like what the manufacturer claims, or even the complete opposite. When it happens my beautysta blood boils and I'll lose all trust in the brand that put such a misleading product on the market. Today I want to share the last 3 most epic fails I've had to deal with in the past few months. 

Clearista by Skincentials 

I was lured into getting a free sample of this supposedly revolutionary product online, so at least I didn't lose any money on this one. According to the brand, the Clearista Retexturizing Gel "reduces the appearance of a wide range of raised and/or pigmented skin imperfections, including rough skin bumps, rough or dry patches and discoloration". Sounds good doesn't it? 

Of course I assumed that this Retexturizing Gel would contain some of the powerful ingredients known to exfoliate skin or improve discoloration, such as AHA/BHA, retinol, vitamin C, etc... Imagine my surprise when I received my sample and looked at the ingredients list: not one of these substances to be found in this formula. Instead, the gel contains scratchy particles (at least they're jojoba esters and not the pollution-causing plastic beads) and a bunch of cleansing agents, thickeners, and very little that seems to have any beneficial effect on skin. 

Intrigued, I emailed the brand and asked what exactly in their formula was providing the exfoliating and brightening effect promised. Their response: the surfactants (detergents/foaming agents) in the formula basically soften the skin and make mechanical exfoliation caused by the jojoba beads more effective. Do you know what it means? It means that this "retexturizing" gel is... a scrub. A plain, simple, old-fashioned, not very useful and potentially irritating face scrub. Don't count on it to retexturize much, and don't expect any effect on discoloration at all. It just can't do anything about it! As I told you in a recent post, I stopped using mechanical exfoliators 5 years ago, so needless to say, this is getting tossed. 

Hair Food Moisture Shampoo 

Hair Food is a very deceiving brand of hair care products sold at Target. I say very deceiving because their marketing strategy is to present their products as good for your hair, while they are clearly not. Buying this shampoo was a mistake, and not reading the ingredients list or taking a closer look at the label before purchasing it is entirely my fault. 

What made me want to try this brand is the fact that some bloggers I follow posted pictures on Instagram and Twitter. I know, don't blindly buy something because it was featured on a blog without an in-depth review... but I did. The name of the brand, the pretty black label showing apricots and honey, the silicone, paraben and mineral oil free formula, and the brand's claims that this shampoo moisturizes and nourishes got me. I was pretty certain it would contain some luxurious natural ingredients like apricot oil that would really nourish my hair. 

Yeah, no. There was a clue, but I missed it: the front label says "Moisture shampoo infused with Honey Apricot Fragrance". FRAGRANCE. There's no apricot in there at all, just apricot fragrance, and there's a very small amount of honey far down the ingredients list. But the real problem is that the first ingredient after water, so the substance this shampoo contains the most of, is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. The infamous SLS is the most irritating and drying detergent that a cosmetics company can use, and it has nothing to do in a formula that pretends to be moisturizing. There are many less harsh alternatives, like the coconut derived cleansers that are known to be much, much milder. 

Unsurprisingly, this shampoo dries out my hair and makes it feel like straw. I have to use about double the amount of conditioner I would typically apply plus a leave-in cream to be able to detangle my hair. Ironically, my hair doesn't even stay clean longer: it re-greases faster, and that's typical of my experience with SLS, as if it caused a kind of "rebound" effect (strip me off of all my natural oils, I'll produce more to compensate). The bottle being so big, I would last me several months, and this is just not going to happen. I'll try to donate it. 

Paula's Choice Hydralight Shine-Free Mineral Complex SPF30 

Considering Paula's Choice's reputation I had high expectations for this product. Maybe too high? It's possible, but the end result remains the same: I was bitterly disappointed. I bought Hydralight SPF30 as a daily moisturizer with sunscreen after it was suggested to me by a customer rep for the brand during an online chat. 

I had tried the brand's Resist Daily Fluid SPF50 and had catastrophic results: my combination skin dried out severely within 3 days. The rep told me to try Hydralight instead because it contains more moisturizing ingredients for my "dry" skin. I don't have dry skin ma'am. Never had, until the Resist Fluid turned my face into a flaky desert! 

Anyways, I took her advice and bought Hydralight. Ugh. First remark. When you hear "hydralight", does an ingredient come to mind? A weightless ingredient known to be very efficient at boosting skin's moisture level without a greasy/heavy sensation? Yep, hyaluronic acid. You'd think a product called Hydralight would contain some... but no. This is an ingredient that always works for me and its absence in this formula is a disappointment in itself. There are other emollients in this product, but it just did not provide the minimum moisture my skin needs everyday. And, I'll repeat myself, I do NOT have dry skin, I have combo skin with normal cheeks and oily T-zone. 

After getting about mid-way through my first tube (cause I bought 2 during a sale...) I noticed that my skin was drying out. Same thing that happened with the Resist Daily Fluid, except that it took a few weeks instead of just 3 days. I started having patchy, flaky areas on my forehead, around my nose, and on my chin - areas that are typically oily. I had to use a hyaluronic acid serum day and night for about 2 weeks to get my skin back to normal. Not cool. 

Another issue I have with this "moisturizer" with SPF is the texture. Shine-free is... kind of true, if you let it sink in for 10-15 minutes. It does feel very heavy however, and there's a white cast that disappears if you rub it in well enough. That's the price to pay for a mineral sunscreen I suppose, but considering that the formula is silicone-based (2 silicones are 2nd and 3rd in the ingredients list), I was hoping for something with a silkier feel. Instead, I found it suffocating, and I simply could not stand it as the weather got warmer. It made my face sweat instantly.

Finally, Hydralight SPF30 is not a good base for makeup. I had used a sample of YSL Touche Eclat foundation, loved it, and ordered a full-size. When it arrived, I was surprised to see it looked so streaky on, and I had to do a lot of buffing with a dual-fiber brush to get a smooth look. What happened between the sample test and the full-size use? Hydralight happened. I tried using primers and it helped, but still wasn't perfect. As soon as I stopped using Hydralight and switched to another moisturizer, Touche Eclat gave me the flawless finish I had been impressed with again. My conclusion: I'll finish the Hydralight SPF30 as a sunscreen, but I do not use it as a moisturizer any longer. It's just not good at hydrating my skin. 

Have you been bitterly disappointed by any cosmetics lately? Did you toss the underwhelming products, or did you try to give them away to someone they might work for?

The products featured in this review were purchased by Lulle. I received no compensation to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post contains affiliate links.

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